June 3, 2009

Catching up over dinner

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It's been a while since this group of ex-colleagues have seen each other, and it's always good to catch up over a nice meal. I thought it would be nice to get everyone introduced to the VIP Floor of Yung Kee (蘭亭閣), and it would give me another chance to try out more of their signature dishes.

I brought a bottle of 2001 Antinori Pian delle Vigne. This is a nice Brunello that is drinking very well right now. As this really wasn't a drinking crowd, the single bottle actually lasted us through the meal...

The usual practice of starting the meal with century eggs (糖心皮蛋) could not be ignored, and I did once again enjoy my half of an egg.

We ordered half of a roast goose (金牌燒鵝), which was not bad but really not that special. Should have gotten the fatty char siu instead...

The deep-fried sea cucumber stomachs (椒鹽海參扣) were just as excellent as I remembered. I'm not sure who first thought up the idea of turning this into food, but I actually prefer this to the outer shell of the sea cucumber. The texture is chewy and crunchy at the same time.

Beef brisket in clear broth (清湯牛爽腩) - a very simple dish. Nice enough but not sure why this was recommeded to me... I think I can find better versions out there.

Braised pomelo skin with shrimp roe (蝦籽柚皮) - it's the right season for the pomelo skin, but there's not enough shrimp roe so I wasn't getting as much flavor as I wanted.

Smoked marinated layer pork (松子雲霧肉) - this is always a winner. The smoky flavor combined with the light and ethereal taste of the fatty pork... And the roasted pine nuts were nice, too.

Deep-fried prawns with mini crab roe (禮云子琵琶蝦) - really delicious and stuffed with the crab roe.

Deep-fried dried oyster rolls (網油蠔豉卷) - this was pretty yummy but pretty fattening. The roll is made up of a layer of pork fat wrapped around the core of a dried oyster and a slice of celery. The dried oyster's flavors were much more intense than that of a fresh one, and the whole package turned out very well.

Finally we had summer spinach in supreme stock (上湯莧菜), which came with big cloves of roasted garlic and was a good way to cleanse the palate.

I shouldn't have had the dessert as I was already full, but succumbed to peer pressure. I think I've learned my lesson.

It was good to catch up with old friends, and doing it over a good meal has always been the Chinese way. I look forward to our next gathering.

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